Story Vision Retreat with Mick Silva


Seattle lights flicker across the Puget Sound, yet to fade under hints of auburn, where seagulls yawn and awake. I grasp the white deck rail and shut my eyes to hear the chirps and the ocean chimes. My lungs soak in the salted cobalt. I am smitten with God’s creation, the way morning blooms out of the dark night.

But morning is yet to flourish, while behind me a nautical beach house nestles thirteen sleeping writers on the bay of Port Orchard, in the midst of Mick Silva’s Story Vision Retreat.

I muse on the reason I can’t sleep. The wisdom of Mick Silva stirring my soul with last night’s lesson. We’ve discovered he is as much a pastor as he is an editor. He quoted Roosevelt last night.

“We love to see people daring greatly even if they fail.”

He added two words for writers to dare greatly. Two words that I long to embrace yet shun at the same time.

Be vulnerable.

I shudder and I am cold. I cradle my arms to my chest the way I’ve cradled my life. The way I’ve protected the trauma of a past full of neglect and abandonment. The way I’ve sheltered myself from the ancient wounds that scour me from under the rubble.

The words I write bleed too much, I tell God.

Too often they hemorrhage my pain into the story. They drip with the lack of worth nursed on me by an alcoholic mother. They stain the page with the inner weirdness I gorge on, at the memory of cowering naked behind a twin bed at the relentless head wagging of a step-father.

The words I write speak of the disease of my invisibleness because no one cared. The infection of my soul where sexual lines were crossed. The gushing of bitterness at the void of upbringing that caused me to drag dysfunction into my early adult life. Setting me up to endure another round of childhood neglect, through the finger points of religion.

When I open my words and be real, I am left without a lock on my diary. My secrets now have verbs and adjectives and I worry that it’s all too obvious. Can the reader can see my pain, the abuse done to me, alongside a story I try to manipulate into fiction?

Maybe I’m not really a writer, I often worry. Only a broken soul looking for some cheap counseling.

I dart inside the house and reach for my notebook. I review Mick’s words and let him pastor my soul again. Erase this lunacy of lies I write on my heart.

It’s in our imperfections is where people love us.
When we face fear.
When we are brave and show ourselves real.
To offer that shame and embarrassment and face that with courage.
That scary something that is private.
Harness it into words.

I calm again, slide the door and find the rail to watch the sun peak a carroty rim. God’s arms reach for me through the shore, while seagulls soar and whiten the sky. I realize God has been with me through this darkened life, as he will be when I face the scary. Dig into the private. Face my fears and harness a story influenced by my experiences.

The sun rises on my heart and it occurs to me. When we make peace with the stories of our past, we are free to write the stories of our readers, infused with our own.

Yes, I am a writer.

I am worthy of love. Worthy to create. Worthy to share my story with the world.